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In the dynamic world of cosmetics, where trends shift as swiftly as the seasons, maintaining brand consistency while complying with regulatory requirements can be a daunting task. Often with a large range of products catering to diverse consumer needs, ensuring that each label or artwork reflects the essence of the brand, is up to date with any current promotions, and meets legal standards is crucial. This is where automation in cosmetic label software emerges as a game-changer, offering a seamless blend of consistency and compliance.

Let’s start with the basics and break down what automation actually is...

Introducing automation

Automation is the process of utilizing technology and machinery to perform tasks and processes with minimal human intervention. It involves the implementation of systems and software that streamline repetitive or labor-intensive tasks, allowing for increased efficiency, accuracy, and consistency. 

Essentially, automation enables the execution of predefined actions or workflows based on predetermined criteria, reducing the need for manual intervention and freeing up human resources. Whether it's automating manufacturing processes, data entry, or customer interactions, automation empowers organizations to improve productivity, reduce errors, save money, and adapt to rapidly changing business environments.

Artwork and labeling automation can do a lot more than simply store, track and approve artwork. A single, end-to-end enterprise labeling and artwork management solution controls the entire labeling process, enabling automated artwork or label creation and modification in the same system. These tools can update artwork and labels over thousands of variants and locations and generate new artwork ready for print. All this can be done in as little as 60 seconds, compared to the many weeks and months of revisions and reworks that are often commonplace.

So now let’s break down how automation can specifically benefit the cosmetics industry…

Ensuring Consistency, Eliminating Errors and Streamlining Global Product Management

When it comes to labeling and artwork, it can be a massive headache for marketers looking to achieve brand consistency and get everything looking good while also staying compliant - that’s a lot to juggle on one small label! Fortunately, with the power of tools like Veraciti’s Automated Artwork Generation (AAG) and label templates, your problems have been solved.

How Does AAG Work?

AAG dynamically assembles the chosen pre-approved content. By using intelligent pre-approved templates to automatically generate the artwork or label, the need for human input is removed, reducing the risk of errors as well as rapidly decreasing project completion times. Labels or artworks are created within seconds rather than days or weeks.

The traditional way to do this is to store data in a database and use a template to control the look and location of the imported data. The issue with this is that to update and actually see 100 populated labels the user has to import that data and then compile each label individually, 100 times in this example. With Veraciti, the user can add the 100 labels to a single project and use the AAG automation to change all 100 at once. There is no need to open and compile each of the 100 labels to see them all complete. Veraciti will change all of them consistently and reliably. The labels can be seen at a much earlier stage in the process which helps you to spot errors and consistency issues earlier on.

Labeling errors can be incredibly time consuming and costly as well as posing serious safety risks. Before using our Veraciti software, one of our biggest customers typically dealt with around one content or layout error per month and since using Kallik’s solution they have experienced no errors at all. In the case of traditional labeling and artwork, mistakes can result in reprinting, wasted labels, and increased resource consumption. However, label templates and proofreading tools significantly minimize the risk of human errors in label design by having a pre-approved bank of assets that can be simply dropped into templates that meet all the relevant regulations for the product. 

How Do Label And Artwork Templates Work?

Label or artwork templates are pre-designed formats that are used as a basis for creating labels for various products, packages, or documents. These templates typically include placeholders for variable information such as product names, descriptions, barcodes, pricing, and other relevant details. Label or artwork templates are far more efficient, accurate and compliant than relying on graphic design software such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe InDesign.

At the heart of template technology lies its ability to automatically resize text, scale barcodes, and adapt images. "The agility and scalability offered by template technology represent a monumental leap in streamlining label and artwork management," explained Bob Tilling, VP of Global Sales at Kallik.

This not only ensures that all products within a brand maintain a uniform look and feel, enhancing brand identity, but with strict regulations on ingredient lists, warnings, and usage instructions, label templates in conjunction with AAG can generate consistent, compliant labels in minutes. With the power of label templates you can rest assured your labels or artwork include all necessary regulatory information, ensuring compliance with local and international standards.

How Can Automation Help to Manage These Assets?

But what about managing all of these assets that are used to build the templates? Keeping your assets well organized, up to date and easily accessible isn’t always simple. Veraciti’s Asset and Phrase Managers contain the individual building blocks of all labels and artworks in Veraciti, such as icons, phrases, symbols, and translations. Users can organize, pre-approve and reuse these assets in one central location, maintaining complete version control and audit trails. The ability to pre-approve assets and phrases before they are used ensures that every individual part of the artwork is compliant with the regulatory requirements. 

What’s more, it’s so simple to search for the asset you’re looking for with the ability to search by color, material used, the brand it belongs to, etc. The ‘Where Used’ function is also incredibly useful here as it has the ability to identify specific components and recognize every artwork or label where they have been used previously. With ever-changing regulations, this makes the process of making bulk changes to icons, images and phrases seamless, both facilitating and accelerating the process of achieving regulatory compliance.

And here’s where the automation comes in - these assets can then be automatically pulled into your label template, ready to use! If that’s not enough, once artworks and labels are completed and approved, they are also automatically stored in the Asset Manager with full version control, audit trails and metadata. So you really can’t ever lose track of anything with this level of automation, so no more worrying about lost artwork, duplicate assets, you’re ready to go!

Using Automation for Global Product Management

It’s all good and well creating consistent, accurate labels and artwork, but what about when it comes to producing these labels and artwork for your products in other countries? You want to maintain that same level of consistency and accuracy - which is where automation comes in again. 

Veraciti revolutionizes this process by enabling organizations to swiftly generate labels and artwork in multiple languages, all within a matter of seconds. This groundbreaking capability eliminates the necessity for linguistic expertise, a significant obstacle particularly for non-native speakers who may struggle with language nuances.

Unlike competitors who may rely on less accurate methods like Google Translate, Veraciti offers pre-approved translations derived from a single source of truth, ensuring consistency and accuracy across all your labels and artwork. This not only streamlines the process but also reduces the workload, as organizations no longer need to create separate labels and artwork for each language, enhancing accessibility as well as cutting costs and providing faster speed-to-market.

John Blake Summarizes the Benefits of Automation

Gartner’s John Blake commented on this, "With newer application digitized tools, users we eliminate that reliance on the manual processes. And those manual processes tend to come in the form of email, spreadsheets, again, these data silos. And what we start to enable is flexibility. So users can manage information across multiple functions, in fact, multiple sites, users know, in fact, even do it globally. The applications are scalable, so kind of moving away from a single desktop or a single site, a single server, right? And there's an aspect of composability, so how the user can identify, adapt, and utilize the data.”

We’ve seen the benefits firsthand many times here at Kallik. Just recently, ​​we helped one of our customers, an American consumer health company, to become more efficient and achieve higher accuracy rates. By making some strategic changes to the process, our team was able to execute seven projects across four regions simultaneously in January 2024. This resulted in an impressive aggregate right-first-time artwork accuracy quality score of 97.96% for the month, with all projects delivered on time or ahead of schedule. This contrasts with the usual 5-10 iterations required without Veraciti, showcasing the effectiveness of automation in achieving this level of efficiency.

Let’s look at some more examples of how Veraciti’s automation has helped customers in the cosmetics industry specifically…

Mary Kay Inc.

For over 50 years, Mary Kay Inc. has not only revolutionized the beauty industry but also empowered countless women worldwide. With a presence in nearly 40 countries, Mary Kay's commitment to quality and innovation is unparalleled. However, as the brand expanded globally, it faced the challenge of outdated labeling systems and disjointed artwork processes.

Kallik's unique ability to automate the entire end-to-end process proved to be the catalyst for Mary Kay's success. Not only did Veraciti reduce labeling artwork creation times, but it also empowered Mary Kay to extend its best practices by automatically generating audit trails. Emma Polman, Manager, Creative Business Packaging, Mary Kay Inc. Addison, Texas explained, “Kallik’s unique selling point was the ability to automate artwork creation and editing. Kallik was the only company that could deliver this functionality.”

House of Cheatham

House of Cheatham, a market leader in the area of personal and beauty care, was recently faced with the challenge of maintaining the latest versions of artwork files amidst regulatory requirements Therefore, the company embarked on a digital transformation journey with Kallik's Veraciti.

“In the first year of implementing the solution, we processed 140 new artworks,” a representative from House of Cheatham, explained. “Prior to Veraciti, the best we could achieve was 24 per annum. In the second year, we increased this figure to over 400, with no additional resources — a 17-fold increase in our artwork production levels compared to our previous solution. Not only this, but we’ve increased accuracy and taken significant costs out of the process.”

With Veraciti's Asset Manager and automated reports, House of Cheatham gained newfound, automated efficiency in processing data, tracking asset versioning, and identifying bottlenecks in their processes. Their representative said, “Kallik has also enabled us to identify and resolve bottlenecks in our processes that were previously difficult to detect, while Veraciti’s intuitive dashboards and automated reports allow us to measure the effectiveness of the whole launch process.” The result? Increased throughput, reduced staff time on workflows, and a streamlined launch process that sets the stage for future growth.

Embracing the Future of Cosmetic Labeling

As the cosmetics industry continues to evolve, the importance of automation in labeling cannot be overstated. Brands like Mary Kay Inc. and House of Cheatham serve as beacons of innovation, leveraging technology to enhance brand consistency, creativity, and compliance.

John summarized: “The legacy systems can just no longer keep up. It's costing organizations too much time, too many resources, and certainly the inability for systems to break down those silos, it’s just causing businesses too many problems.” The shift towards cloud-based, automated, AI-driven platforms marks the beginning of a new era—one where the convergence of technology and innovation becomes the foundation of an efficient, compliant labeling and artwork management process.

Download our free guide on labeling and artwork trends in 2024 to get started on transforming your cosmetic labeling and artwork management.